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Kite Line

Kite Line is a radio program devoted to prison issues around the Midwest and beyond. Behind the prison walls, a message is called a kite: whispered words, a note passed hand to hand, or a request submitted to the guards for medical care. Illicit or not, sending a kite means trusting that other people will bear it farther along till it reaches its destination. On the show, we hope to pass along words across the prison walls.

Kite Line- November 17, 2016: Two Weeks Into the Hunger Strike at Wabash Valley

In Wabash Valley, Shaka Shakur is maintaining his hunger strike, demanding an end to guard abuses and the isolation of active prisoners in camera cells. We spoke with his wife, Akili Shakur, who provided context for the struggle undertaken by Shaka and other prisoners, along with background on his imprisonment and the role of guards in targeting prisoners and stoking …

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Kite Line- November 10, 2017: 23 Hours In & One Hour Out- The View From Menard

This week, we share the words and experiences of Salomon X, a former prisoner in Illinois. In the first of two episodes with Salomon, he describes poor conditions and exploitation in the Menard prison, site of many recent struggles, and compares it with other facilities. Many of his memories will be recognizable to Hoosiers; elsewhere, he has spoken of prisoners …

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Kite Line- November 3, 2017: Appalachian Prison Resistance

This week, we speak with Lill, a resident of Whitesburg, Kentucky. Whitesburg is located in Letcher County the proposed home to a new federal prison to be built on a mountaintop removal site. We have previously covered the strong local organizing in Letcher County that had helped put a stop to this toxic proposal. In light of recent efforts by …

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Kite Line- October 27, 2017: Fighting the Mail Ban

Last April, the Indiana Department of Corrections banned all correspondence to it’s 25,000 prisoners, except that which is handwritten on lined white paper. The official explanation is that this is an attempt to block trafficking of synthetic marijuana which can be applied to paper. But many prisoners and advocates have pointed to a long series of earlier measures targeting correspondence …

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Kite Line- October 20, 2017: The Rise of Mass Incarceration, Part Two

Our news this week focuses on the prisoners who are fighting California’s wildfires for as little as a dollar an hour while actually fighting fires. In total, about thirty-eight hundred male and female inmates are fighting fires in California. They constitute around thirteen percent of the state’s firefighters. Their low salaries save taxpayers a hundred twenty-four million dollars a year. …

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Kite Line- October 13, 2017: The Rise of Mass Incarceration, Part One

This week we share the first part of a lecture by Elizabeth Hinton delivered at IU on October 12.  In her talk, she traces the creation and rise of mass incarceration as a strategy of America’s ruling class.  Her historical research, which culminated in a book last year called “From the War on Poverty to the War on Crime,” demonstrates …

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Kite Line- October 6, 2017: Prison and the Press, Part One

This week is the first episode of several about the intersection between the media and prison struggles. In January of 2015, journalist Barrett Brown was sentenced to 63 months in prison for his role reporting on Anonymous’ hack of Stratfor, a private security and espionage company. Today, we are sharing a talk he gave at the Fight Toxic Prisons conference …

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Kite Line- September 29, 2017: Prison Imperialism

The phenomenon of mass incarceration has made the United States the world leader in carceral punishment. With only four percent of the world’s population, the United States accounts for 20% of the world’s incarcerated persons. In fact, the U.S. Is the pioneer of mass incarceration and the attendant police militarization and prison industry that are its foundation. Programs like “three …

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Kite Line- September 22, 2017: Fighting Words

This week, we have two contributions –one closer to home and one many more miles away- but both aim to describe an unfair relationship of power each contributor’s community faces. We first hear an essay from a prisoner in Southern Illinois, followed by a statement sent to us from a member of the community of the Mapuche people in Chile. …

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Kite Line- September 15, 2017: Prison Lives Matter

This episode is an interview with Kwame Shakur, who is currently incarcerated at the Pendleton Correctional Institution. On August 11th , Indiana prison activists held a demonstration at the state capitol building in Indianapolis opposing new Indiana department of corrections regulations restricting incoming prisoner mail. The new policy prohibits all mail which is not hand written on white,lined paper. Though …

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